Wales Watch: Harry Wilson is on fire for Derby

Harry Wilson continued his superb goalscoring form for Derby by netting another 2 goals on the weekend against Swansea, including a wonder strike from 30 yards out. Wilson has now scored four goals in his last three appearances for Derby.

In the same match, Tom Lawrence also played 90 minutes, while Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts, Dan James and Declan John all started for Swansea in the 2-1 loss against Derby.

James Chester scored again for Aston Villa as they had a shock 3-0 away victory against Middlesborough. Chester has now scored 3 goals in his last 7 games for Villa, a superb run of form for a central defender.

Although Unai Emery does not feel the need to start Aaron Ramsey, the Welsh talisman came on in the North London derby and played a huge part in Arsenal’s 4-2 victory. Ramsey was brought on at half time as Spurs went into the break 2-1 ahead, however the Welshman assisted Arsenal’s final two goals to secure the huge win. Ben Davies played 82 minutes for Spurs in the same match.

Wayne Hennessey kept a second clean sheet in two games for Crystal Palace in their 2-0 win against Burnley. Hennessey also picked up the player of the month award for Palace, voted for by the fans.

Christian Doidge and Lee Evans faced each other on Saturday as Bolton drew 1-1 with Wigan. Although Doidge played as a central striker, he saved Bolton their hard-earned point by clearing Evans’ strike off the line in the final minutes.

Wales regulars Chris Gunter and Joe Allen played 90 minutes on the opposing sides in Reading 2-2 Stoke. Ashley Williams came on for Stoke in the 89th minute.

And our foreign exports: 

Despite not getting on the scoresheet Gareth Bale was back in form for Real Madrid in their 2-0 win over Valencia. Matt Smith and James Lawrence both played 90 minutes for FC Twente and Anderlecht, respectively. Alex Babos came on in the last 15 minutes for Real Union in their 2-0 win against Real Sporting B.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• There were so many Welsh goal scorers in the weekend matches!

There were so many Welsh goal scorers in the weekend matches!

On Monday night, Matt Smith scored his first professional career goal for FC Twente against Jong AZ. Smith scored a volley in what happened to be the winning goal for his team.

Sam Vokes scored a stunning long-range header for Burnley against Newcastle, in what was the furthest headed finish for 3 seasons. Paul Dummett was not in the Newcastle squad.

Harry Wilson was on hand to score his third league goal for Derby on Saturday with an excellent volley in the 18 yard box. Ash Baker and Morgan Fox started for Sheffield Wednesday in the same game, both in full-back positions. Tom Lawrence was brought on for Derby for the last 15 mins.

Joe Allen also got his third of the season for Stoke City in a goalmouth scramble and Ashley Williams started in the same game at centre half.

Although he was absent from the Wales squad last week, Ben Davies was back in the Spurs starting 11 as they beat Chelsea 3-1 at home to go third in the Premier League, behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wayne Hennessey put in a stellar performance to keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Hennessey was tested throughout the game but made some excellent saves to earn Crystal Palace a 0-0 draw away from home.

Gareth Bale started for Real Madrid in their shock 3-0 loss away at Eibar. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey unfortunately continues to be used sporadically by Arsenal manager Unai Emery, only playing for 10 minutes on Sunday.

Swansea were hammered 4-1 at home by league leaders Norwich, but the main consolation was for Dan James, who tapped into an empty net for his first league goal for the Swans. Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts also started in the game, while Declan John was an unused sub.

After winning his first cap in midweek, Keiron Freeman grabbed an assist for Sheffield United on the weekend in their 2-2 draw with Rotherham. Ben Woodburn, who was absent from the Sheffield United squad again, put in an excellent display for Liverpool U23’s in a 1-0 win over Everton.

It was pleasing to see Chris Gunter back in the starting line up for Reading at right-back, following his record 93rd cap for Wales against Albania last week. Reading drew 0-0 with Wigan, for whom Lee Evans was an unused substitute.

James Chester and Neil Taylor both got 90 mins in the Second City Derby, as Aston Villa beat Birmingham 4-2 at home. Chris Mepham withdrew from international duty before the Denmark game last Friday, but he was back in Brentford’s team on the weekend, losing to Tony Pulis’ Middlesborough 2-1 at home.

And finally, new Wales-capped James Lawrence came on as a sub in Anderlecht’s 4-2 loss against Saint-Truden.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Wales v Denmark: Pre-match Press Conference
• Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals 
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 

Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals

Gwion Edwards was back amongst the goals this week in a 2-2 draw with Reading. Edwards opened the scoring for Ipswich after 5 minutes with a perfectly struck low first-time volley. Chris Gunter was an unused sub.

Paul Dummett will go into the international break with another 90 minutes under his belt. He is more than likely going to start against Denmark on Friday because of Ben Davies’ absence through suspension. David Brooks played 90 minutes for Bournemouth in the same game in the no.10 position, after his excellent showing last weekend.

In the other Premier League matches, aforementioned Ben Davies played at left-back for Spurs in their 1-0 win over Wayne Hennessey‘s Crystal Palace. Sam Vokes played 73 minutes for Burnley but didn’t score in a 0-0 outing with Leicester.

Aaron Ramsey technically got an assist in Arsenal’s 1-1 tie with Wolves, giving the ball to Mkhitaryan to setup a stunning finish. Ramsey started on the bench again and only played the last 15 minutes of the match.

In the Steel City derby on Friday night, Keiron Freeman was the Welshman on the Sheff United side, while Ash Baker and Morgan Fox were part of the Sheffield Wednesday 11. The game finished 0-0; clean sheets for all of the Welsh defenders here, but none of whom are in Wales’ international squad this week. However, Ben Woodburn, who did not make the Sheffield United match day squad has been called up for Wales.

Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon were part of the Swansea defence that earned another clean sheet for Swansea. Dan James started again on the wing, but without a goal or assist this time around.

After making the squad for the first time under Ryan Giggs this week, Neil Taylor went off at half-time because of an injury in Aston Villa’s 3-0 hammering against Derby. James Chester was at the heart of defence for Villa with another clean sheet, while Tom Lawrence and Harry Wilson were off the pace for the home side.

More clean sheets for Ashley Williams‘ Stoke against Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening, Joe Allen was also in the same side. Meanwhile, Chris Mepham‘s Brentford conceded three against QPR, where Joel Lynch scored a rare goal for the home team.

Hal-Robson Kanu scored in a 4-1 hammering against Tyler Roberts‘ Leeds. Roberts only played 25 minutes of the game in the second half.

Third-choice goalkeeper, Adam Davies kept his place for Barnsley’s 4-0 win against Notts County in the first round of the FA Cup. Ryan Hedges came on as a late substitute.

New call-up James Lawrence played 90 minutes at centre-back in their 2-0 win on Sunday and Matt Smith played the full match for FC Twente on Friday night. Our other foreign export, Gareth Bale, came through seemingly unscathed against Celta Vigo on Sunday evening. He will meet with the squad in South Wales on Monday.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire 
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the weekend’s highlight

James Chester put in an outstanding performance for Aston Villa on Friday night. He scored the second goal to seal a 2-0 win for the home side, but it was a phenomenal clearance off the line that wowed spectators everywhere.

Harry Wilson scored another free kick for Derby on the weekend. This time it wasn’t quite so impressive as it was heavily deflected, but they all count. Tom Lawrence played 90 mins in Derby’s 3-1 win.

Though Bournemouth lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United, David Brooks put in another strong 90 minutes for the Cherries from a no.10 position.

Gareth Bale went without a goal or assist in the 70 minutes he played for Real Madrid and Aaron Ramsey was only used as a second half substitute for Arsenal.

Paul Dummett played 90 minutes at left-back for Newcastle, as did Ben Davies for Spurs. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Sam Vokes played 72 minutes for Burnley, but they got beat 4-2 by West Ham.

There were clean sheets for Chris Mepham (Brentford), Ashley Williams (Stoke), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) and Adam Davies (Barnsley).

It was a second assist in as many games for Dan James, but there was no clean sheet this time for Joe Rodon. Connor Roberts played for Swansea in the higher position on the right, Declan John still doesn’t make the match day 18.

George Thomas has become a regular for Scunthorpe since featuring for Wales last month and scored the second in a 3-3 draw, as well as setting up the first goal.

Chris Maxwell was sent off for the first time in his career after a second bookable offence for Preston. Wayne Hennessey was in goal for Crystal Palace’s 3-1 loss on Sunday and stopped Alvaro Morata getting his hat-trick in injury time.

Ben Woodburn returned to the Sheffield United side with a 10 minute substitute appearance. Chris Gunter came on for the last 5 minutes in Reading’s 3-2 win over Bristol City.

FC Twente’s Matt Smith was again on hand to put in another match winning performance in their 3-1 victory.

Read more:
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

Doidge opens his account for Bolton in the Championship

Christian Doidge was the only notable Welsh player in the top divisions on the scoresheet this week. He signed for Championship side Bolton Wanderers from Forest Green Rovers on deadline day in August and netted his first goal against Rotherham on Saturday, after coming on as a second-half substitute.

26-year-old Doidge was a prolific goal scorer in the lower leagues but has never featured for Wales at any age grade.

It was fantastic news for Cardiff City on Saturday, winning their first Premier League game of the season in a dramatic 4-2 win over Fulham. Jazz Richards was brought on in the last 15 minutes to see out the victory.

Ben Davies was back in action for Spurs and played 90 minutes as they beat West Ham. Other Welsh left-backs, Paul Dummett, Andrew Hughes and Neil Taylor also played 90 minutes for Newcastle, Preston and Aston Villa, respectively.

David Brooks and Sam Vokes once again had Premier League starts and both were subbed around the hour mark. Aaron Ramsey came on for ten minutes in his return to the Arsenal squad.

It was a strange weekend for on-loan Sheffield United player Ben Woodburn as he turned out for Liverpool U23’s instead. Woodburn has not had much game time this season under Chris Wilder and it is thought that there’s a clause in his contract to guarantee a certain amount of games throughout the season.

Despite a solid performance for Liverpool U23’s, it was Welsh U21 international, Isaac Christie Davies who got his name on the scoresheet in the 77th minute.

Swansea gave a debut to youngster Cian Harries on Saturday in a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa. He played alongside regular Joe Rodon in a back three and was replaced by winger Daniel James around the 50 minute mark. Connor Roberts played his usual 90 minutes at right wing-back. James Chester was back to captain the Villa side under new manager Dean Smith.

It was a bad weekend for Chris Mepham as he was sent off for a second bookable offence for Brentford. Joe Allen and Ashley Williams played 90 minutes in Stoke’s fifth loss of the season, meanwhile, Gareth Bale came on at half-time to try and salvage a win for Real Madrid, but ended with another defeat.

Lee Evans and Harry Wilson played 90 minutes for Wigan and Derby in their sixth league wins of the season. Tom Lawrence was brought on in the 36th-minute for Derby.

Matt Smith started for FC Twente and was brought off after an hour as they went 4-0 up. They ended up winning emphatically away from home; the game finished 6-1.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Match Report: Rep. of Ireland 0-1 Wales
• Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford 
• Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain 
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream 
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 

Match report: Rep. of Ireland 0 – 1 Wales

Wales recorded their second victory in as many months against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Wales have only won three competitive games without Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey in twelve years, however a magnificent free kick from Harry Wilson ensured that Wales’ footballing future is most definitely in good hands.

The first chance of the game fell to Ireland, when Matt Smith slipped on the edge of the 18-yard box, following Giggs’ instruction of passing from the back. Cyrus Christie pounced on Smith’s mistake guided the ball towards Hennessey’s bottom left corner, forcing him into a good save in the opening ten minutes.

Ben Davies and Connor Roberts started to push high in attack, with Matt Smith or Joe Allen dropping into back four in their absence. Despite forcing Ireland to press high, Wales could not force an opening to hurt Ireland.

The first 30 minutes saw both teams cancelling each other out. Wales and Ireland enjoyed spells of possession but struggled to find a way to break each other down.

Ben Davies was booked on 32 minutes for a rash challenge on Harry Arter, meaning he will miss Wales’ final Nations League match against Denmark in November.

David Brooks was by far Wales’ brightest player in the first half; his quick feet and guided movement caused Ireland problems down the right side.

A low ball from Brooks into Tyler Roberts looked dangerous, but the forward couldn’t get enough power in his strike to trouble Darren Randolph.

Matt Smith recovered well from his earlier mistake by throwing his body on the edge of the 18-yard box to block a powerful Irish shot. His passing was excellent and looked comfortable next to Joe Allen in midfield.

The first chance of the second half fell to Wales, when Arter brought down Connor Roberts on the edge of the box.

Harry Wilson, who scored a world-class free kick against Man Utd recently, stepped up and struck it straight into the top left corner, leaving Randolph no chance of a saving it.

Wales looked much brighter after going 1-0 up, but Ireland almost found a reply when Jeff Hendrick edged through the Wales defence and shot straight at Hennessey.

On 73 minutes, Smith started a Welsh counter attack by playing a through ball to Lawrence, and the Derby winger was able to force a corner.

From that same set piece, James Chester almost scored his first goal in a Wales shirt from Wilson’s perfectly drilled cross, but he headed wide.

Wales continued the pressure, this time with Tyler Roberts, who was slightly off balance when he hit the ball wide.

Ireland’s counter attacks were few and far between. A break in the 81st minute only led to a comfortable save for Hennessey, even though Ireland were throwing players forward into the Welsh half.

Giggs enforced a more defensive shape for Wales with three new introductions late in the second half. George Thomas played in an unfamiliar central midfield role, Chris Gunter came on at right-back and Andy King came on to make a three in midfield.

The result looked confirmed as the game headed into the 90th minute, but McClean almost changed that with a powerful strike. Hennessey’s solid performance between the sticks continued when he saved the shot and followed this up by collecting a cross with ease.

The final Welsh chance of the match fell to youngster, George Thomas. Tyler Roberts played him into a one-on-one with Randolph, but he squandered this golden opportunity to secure the game with a second goal for Wales.

Ireland had one more opportunity and sent Randolph up for a corner in a desperate attempt to equalise. However, this came too late for the Irish and Wales secured their second win over Ireland in a matter of weeks, taking them to first in the group with one game remaining.

Player ratings:
Wayne Hennessey (7), Connor Roberts (6), Ashley Williams (7), James Chester (6), Ben Davies (6), Joe Allen (6), Matt Smith (7), David Brooks (7), Harry Wilson MOTM (7), Tom Lawrence (6), Tyler Roberts (7).

Subs: George Thomas (6), Chris Gunter & Andy King (not enough time on the pitch).

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford
• Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain 
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream 
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 

Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford

In an interview with Chris Mepham this week, he spoke about his Wales & Brentford career so far, the prospect of facing Spain, the players he looks up to most and the help he’s received with his sleeping schedule. 

How Wales is helping him and other youngsters

“You are wrapped around world-class players and get that experience of being in and around the senior team, which is only good for my development.

“Also when you take it back to your club, having that confidence and spring in your step every week is helpful.”

“The style we play with Wales helps with club football because some of the training sessions we do here are similar to what we do back at Brentford.

“Both managers have a similar style in terms of playing attractive football, playing through the thirds and building up from the back. That helps me and feels quite natural to me.”

Large (7)

Mepham recognises the importance of being surrounded with experience, especially as a central defender. He admits it’s very good to have those older heads mixed with the younger ones for competition.

“Ash [Williams] and James [Chester] help me a lot. When you come away you have to make the most of the people around and speak to them and see how they organise people on the pitch.

“That is one thing that has impressed me with Ash. You see his leadership qualities and Chezzy is the same; you can always learn from people like that and it is only going to help.”

“I like to think it is good competition with the younger players because the manager gives youth a chance to make their own place.

“But also for the senior professionals to have someone underneath competing will only help them and keep them motivated. It is positive for both.”

Personal progress

“It has taken me by surprise, it has been happening so quickly. It is hard to reflect on how fast it has gone because it seems training and games are coming thick and fast without having to think about the last 12 months.

“I am loving it. I am really enjoying it.”

“The physicality of the Championship, that is one area I have struggled with.

“Playing against big strikers every week and ones who use their body really well. I need to get better at that.

“When we play Spain on Thursday it is not going to be as direct, but it is obviously good to experience both sides of it for my development.”

Facing Spain and the Principality Stadium

Mepham pauses to think about the prospect of coming up against Chelsea striker, Alvaro Morata and co.

“It is everyone’s goal to be marking top players every week.

“In the Championship I don’t have the luxury of marking world-class players, so if it does happen [marking Morata] it would be amazing.”

“There’s that bit of pressure I will face, which you wouldn’t necessarily face for Brentford.

“Especially because I’ve not been involved that long, so I have to come in and express myself quickly. I have to show to the manager why I should be in the team.

“Also, we are playing to win every game we play and hopefully do well in the Nations League.”

Mepham admits he’s never been to the Principality Stadium and his training session there on Wednesday morning would have been the first time. He would have been 4-years-old when Wales beat Italy 2-1 in 2002.

“I think Mexico would have been the biggest stadium I’ve played in, but this will be up there if I do play.

“Again it will be another good experience to play in front of that crowd.

“I am not too sure I have ever been the Millennium [Principality] Stadium. It will be a good opportunity to go and play there.”

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 14.58.27

Heroes when growing up

“When I was younger it was probably John Terry.

“When I was at Chelsea, Terry was playing at the time and we sometimes went to Stamford Bridge to watch a game. He was always someone I was keeping an eye on.

“Even in the late stages of his career I watched a lot of him and saw how much of a leader he is around the team. He is a good person to watch.”

“Now, John Stones is a player I watch a lot. Most days I look at Stones’ performance clips.

“I would like to aspire to be like him. He has a similar build to me and I would like to think I base myself on being confident on the ball and composed.”

“Our analyst at Brentford has access to Wyscout, which is where all the club matches get uploaded, and then players can get access to it.

“You go on there and you can pull different categories like aerial duels, passing, clearances, heading. I try to watch as many different ones as I can.

“I think with someone like John Stones, a lot of his work is done during build-up play with passing. It is good to watch his movement when he receives the ball. That is what I base parts of my game on.”

Help from a sleeping coach

“I have been very much involved [with the coaching]. I must admit I have had problems sleeping.

“Not really badly, but it is an area as a professional footballer you have to have good sleep every night – especially when you have a game on a Saturday. You need your 8-9 hours sleep.”

172188013.jpg.gallery

“For a couple weeks I wasn’t getting that proper amount of sleep and it was important for me to speak to someone.

“Luckily, we had someone at the club who was brought in called Anna. She has worked closely with me over the last couple of months.

“She has given me a few tips – reading books and to rest my mind at night. I have tried to take that on board. I couldn’t tell you the name of the book but it is working.”

“I don’t play video games. I do have a phone, but it is hard to stay off your phone!”

“I am feeling the benefits definitely.”

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream 
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 
• Ramsey and Brooks hit form at the perfect time 
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad 
• Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland 

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started